Welcome to the very first installment of “If My Book,” an ongoing Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to unusual things. This week Myfanwy Collins writes about The Book of Laney, her third book and second novel, published this spring by Engine Books.
If The Book of Laney were a snowstorm, it would be a snowstorm that burns bright and hot until it melts away and builds itself up again and again until all you see is snow melting and burning and freezing. My book would be a snowstorm that burns the earth. Scorches it down, leading you away from your home, from your dead. My book would be a snowstorm that torches light and hope and leads you down to the water. The frozen water. Each flake a destiny. Each flake erasing the past and breaking down your new beginning. If my book were a snowstorm, it would be a snowstorm of pulsing light in the sky, leading you away from your dark heart and into understanding. In The Book of Laney, a fifteen-year-old Laney is cast out of her known world because of the heinous actions of her brother. She is without hope. Instead, she learns how to find herself in nature, in self-resilience, and in learning how to live within others’ skin. If my book were a snowstorm it would recreate your path, making it fresh, but not just by covering over the past’s shit and the debris.
Laney is my book, my snowstorm. Laney fears that she will never belong again to the regular world and she’s not even sure she wants to. She considers her mortality and wonders if living is worthwhile. Alone, she walks out of the scorched-earth snowstorm her brother leaves behind and into her grandmother’s world, covered in crusted ice. Laney chips away at the ice, revealing the layers of the past trapped like dust within a glacier and pushes away the spray of snow with her raw hands. She finds herself within it.
If my book were a snowstorm, it would melt itself into this beginning of life, the droplet of water, your own head, your own heart. Still alive. Undaunted.
Myfanwy Collins is the author of a collection of short stories and two novels. Her latest is The Book of Laney. For more information, please visit: http://www.myfanwycollins.com or follow her on Twitter at @myfanwycollins.